Two Emails, Two Years Apart …

… and anniversaries around every corner.

When you finally decide to pay thoughtful, kind attention to a gift God is trying to give you, the ride is so very sweet. And when part of that gift is a friendship / turned courtship / turned marriage, the latter parts happening in a compressed timeline, it means anniversaries abound—there’s something to celebrate from the ride almost every day.

August 1 is today’s example, and it came with a new celebration, too. Two years ago, August 1, 2016, I got this email:

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 9.41.14 PM

If you know any part of our story, you know Brad was one patient dude. This coffee invitation is more than one year after the last coffee “date” we shared, and after which all my single-girl, self-protective, broken, hurt filters went into full swing. From that last coffee in mid-June 2015, I actively worked to limit our communication and connection. I didn’t know how to read Brad, what to do with my own thoughts or heart, and I didn’t even know I had some really broken perspectives and assumptions active in me. So, even though we continued to say hello at church, and there was an occasional email exchange, I was working hard to keep my heart unmoved and to keep Brad in a tidy box, at more than arm’s length.

Then God said, “Enough, kiddo. Listen up, please.”

In the sweetest ways, God began getting my attention about my thinking and feeling patterns starting in May 2016 and going forward. July included a trip to my parents and a crucial conversation about learning to be friends with—of all things—a single man. Okay, I thought; I’ll give it a go.

I emailed Brad and tried to be friendly. Apparently, the friendly came through … Brad kindly replied to a few questions I asked. And then, just a couple weeks later, the August 1, 2016 email above arrived in my inbox. More than one year after our last coffee “date,” here Brad was, asking me to coffee again. Miraculous. And as I have mentioned to so many people: clearly, this guy was made of some kind of patience and kindness that deserved my attention.

We went to coffee on August 3 at Perks of Life. I tried to act like a normal girl, and not a workaholic-stubborn-single-overanalytical missions worker. He was his kind, funny, generous self. And that day was the first of many new things in the months to come.

So, today, I am celebrating this August 1 email and Brad’s coffee courage. And I’m adding this celebration:

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Less than two weeks ago, a dear, priceless friend who is about my age, married for the first time. Similar to my life, God wrote a stunningly surprising story of love for her and her now-husband; it started just over a month after she made the cake for Brad’s and my wedding. We have each spent our lives, nearly fifty years, as “Miss …”, with the last names we have each carried for all those years. Today, this “Mrs.” exchange appeared in my email inbox, and I just giggled away. We both giggled when I sent this screen shot to her. We can’t stop widening our eyes at these new stories, being surprised and grateful, and praising God not just for the gifts of the families with which he has blessed us, but for the gift of a sister in a new season with so much story in common.

A new email anniversary to celebrate. :)

And someday, I’ll share the “Kathie-colon” story. Brad’s emails always started with Kathie:  it made a whole adventure for us!

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